Wichita mayor responds to new details in lawsuit over attack ad

Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 2:36 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - During his weekly briefing from City Hall Wednesday, Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple addressed new details released this week concerning a lawsuit over an attack ad that targeted him. Named in that lawsuit are three local leaders: state representative Michael Capps, Wichita City Council member James Clendenin and Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O’Donnel. The ad at the center of Whipple’s lawsuit made false claims about him during last year’s mayoral race against then Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell.

The lawsuit accuses Capps, Clendenin and O’Donnell of being responsible for the attack ad. Tuesday, Whipple’s attorney told Eyewitness News that he has evidence showing that Capps, Clendenin and O’Donnell were involved in the ad’s production. Before this week, that suit only named two defendants: Matthew Colborn, the man who made the video, and a group called “Protect Wichita Girls.” The amended lawsuit says O’Donnell wrote the script for the ad, Clendenin raised money to promote it and Capps formed an organization in New Mexico as a way to hide their identities.

At his weekly press briefing on Thursday, Whipple said he wasn’t surprised when the names of the three men were added to the lawsuit. He said he knew about the information for some time because it came out during the court case.

“I can’t let it bother me. My job is to work for the people of Wichita. My job is to work with anyone at all who wants to come to the table and help us further Wichita,” said Whipple.

Whipple said he continues to work with Clendenin, who he sits alongside on the Wichita City Council and Commissioner O’Donnell, to move Wichita forward.

“We’ve worked together, knowing, me knowing, what’s going on behind the scenes with this case, reaching out to and working together on multiple projects to try to further Wichita,” said the mayor.

He said the lawsuit is an effort to clean up politics, and his focus remains on the job for which he was elected.

“We’re better off as a democracy when we stick to the facts. When we stick to the facts, when we stick to the policy, and we ensure that we have our open dialogue and discussion done in a format where best ideas are encouraged to be brought forward and, and the best ideas rise to the top,” Whipple said.

Eyewitness News reached out to all three men named in the suit this week. Clendenin didn’t want to comment, Capps could not be reached and O’Donnell maintains he had no involvement in the attack ad.

Copyright 2020 KWCH. All rights reserved.

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